2012 has been an odd year for action RPG fans. One of the most anticipated games of the last few years is released to mainstream excitement only to underwhelm and disappoint about as much as it pleased and met expectations. I'm talking about Diablo 3 of course, and in most cases the general consensus was that the game was extremely underwhelming. That's neither here nor there though since my main gripe with the game was the auction house. In my eyes, this brought about the death of the action RPG (a dramatic term, I know, but it serves for a blog post title) and instead replaced the fun and excitement of loot driven gameplay with an almost stock market like thrill of the buy. People weren't excited about completing sets of armor as much as they were about making million gold sales or $250 real life money sales. At first this novel idea turned my stomach sour and I lost all interest in the game before it was even 2 months old.
But, today is a pivotal day in the life of an Action RPG fan. Torchlight 2 hits (digital) store shelves today and with it a chance to redeem the genre. Torchlight 1 was a game that stood for everything that was pure and good in the action RPG genre with it's dungeon crawling, loot, and overall general aesthetic that hearkened back to the days of Diablo 1. There is no auction house to hawk wares at in the hopes of making a quick buck. If you decide to level your character, you will be doing so for the thrill of leveling your character, not to make money in the real world. I have extremely high hopes for this game but the highest of them all rest on the fact that I want my action RPGs to go back in time, not forward. I'm ok with the game bringing nothing new to the table, because at this point, bringing nothing new is bringing everything in the world to me.